good morning. i'm chris lawrence. welcome to "viewpoint." our guests today include jimmy kemp, the president of the jack kemp foundation. ron moten, the program director for the art of peace and khamis hughes, the owner of ideal visions. her own company. today we are talking about single moms. i have got two kids under the age of 5. my wife is out the door and works insane hours. i can't imagine what that would be like to try to do that alone, by myself. what are some of the challenges that are facing single mothers and how you all working to sort of give them the support they
need? >> well, first, i would like to thank the interactivity foundation, open society foundation and helping the community start a dialogue of dealing with the issues and challenges of moms in our community especially places in washington, d.c. where 91% of the 15 to 17-year-olds are raised by single parents most of them mothers. it is very hard. you have peer pressure. you have social media. you have a lot of these mothers living in poverty and there's no -- a lot of conditions they're in. a lot of people expect something to fall out of the sky and we don't have a strategy to uplift this population of women. they have done a great job right, but we haven't ended poverty in america and in d.c. a lot of the moms are being pushed out. a lot of anxiety kicking in. even our younger girls now in d.c., 30% of the lockups in
juvenile court are young females. most of them for violent crime. that's because we haven't dealt with the fact that hurt people hurt people and a lot of the parents are dealing with a lot of pain and it's reproducing itself in our community. >> you guys feel the same way in terms of the challenges i think that single moms out there are facing right now. >> yeah. it's pretty much a struggle. not only are we dealing with those things he talked about, teenage pregnancy, there's domestic violence, there's violence within your peers. there's all kinds of things and we have to come together as one and figure out like you said a strategy where we -- it can help, you know, these young women. >> well, i would just say she has a 13-year-old son and it's amazing she started her own business.
she has used the resources that she found not that were brought to her, but that she went out and found to start a business and to create a better life for herself, but also for her son who's now 13 and at the kemp foundation our mission is to develop, engage and recognize exceptional leaders who champion the american ideal so we have partnered with ron who champions the american idea. much of which is exemplified in what khamis has done to improve her own life and you know, there are opportunities. she's gone and seized them. i think it's great to highlight the efforts that she's done, not only to be a good parent but to start her own business. and build a really powerful future for herself and her son. >> a lot of people would look at your example and just wonder how did you do it? and what did you have to
overcome to get to where you are right now? >> i left home at age of 17. i became pregnant at the age of 19 which i always say is a hole i had to dig myself out of. i pretty much woke up one day, looked at my environment, the surroundings, the things i took part in and decided this is not what i wanted to do. i had to wake up. my son depended on me. i know that -- there's nobody there that i can depend on because he's depending on me. it was a lack of support, i felt that nobody took me serious. so therefore i had to surround myself with positive people and take a little bit from each person and create what i have got now. and continue to push forward and there's no looking back because i don't want to be behind. i want to look forward in life. >> very well said. i mean, you've seen this firsthand from a lot of young
women. some of the challenges that she's described. >> yeah. and we have to face the reality that a lot of people have a lot of pain and some people might not have the drive that she has. so we have to have things in place to push people and look at the talents that people have and a lot of our women have been marginalized. i'll tell you firsthand i was trained by a lot of the people who work with martin luther king in the civil rights movement and in my community i know i -- i know where i would be without my grandmother. i would be in prison for the rest of my life or dead like a lot of people i have seen without her and the grace of god. i was trained by a lot of people who worked with king and without these women who stopped guys from retaliating and things in the civil rights movement, that's the same model that i used when i was in the community. women are so important to our community, not just raising children, but people follow their leads. they have the influence on men and keep that balance that we need in our communities, whether it's politics, whether it's in
the schools, whether it's in our communities. they have always been important. so when we start saying that you know african-americans, for instance, in communities like southeast, most of the mothers are raising children by themselves and they feel no sense of hope that's very blight -- not for the african-american community but for america in general. >> that's a great point to leave it. we'll dive into the hash tag, black moms matter. ♪ ♪ ♪ turn around ♪ ♪ every now and then i get a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing really good around ♪ ♪ turn around ♪ ♪ every now and then i get a little bit tired ♪ ♪ of living off the taste of the air ♪ ♪ turn around, barry ♪ ♪ finally,
i have a manly chocolatey snack ♪ ♪ and fiber so my wife won't give me any more flack ♪ ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪ ♪ ♪ oh my gosh, it's the guy from last night. what?! can i jump on your wi-fi? yeah, you can try it. hey! i had a really good time last night. yeah, me too. the only thing is that... the only thing is what? what's the only thing? oh my gosh he's married.
he's a kleptomaniac. he's a pyromaniac. he's a total maniac. hey! hey! go back to your wife you sociopath! leave slow internet behind. the 100% fiber optics network is here. get out of the past. get fios. now $79.99 a month. go online or call now. call the verizon center for customers with disabilities at 800.974.6006 tty/v welcome back to "viewpoint." we're now going to dive into the hash tag, black moms matter. i want to ask you, why -- what is this program and why do we need an initiative like black moms matter? >> so like i said we started with the interactive foundation, the society foundation because if you get on the metrobuses and
you look at the condition of the young women and you listen to them, you would know that they matter. and that we need to take drastic steps to change the condition that we see in some of them. not all of them. if you don't have a strategy -- >> like what? >> like the mental condition. when you have young girls walking around and they don't have a confidence in themselves and they've lowered themselves to people calling themselves the "b" word, they don't go to work they feel hopeless, they don't have jobs, we have to -- they can't get employment, where everywhere they go seems like a door is closed in their face and right now we talk about the problems of the men in our community, but females, they're just as bad. prime example, a female who drops out of school is three to four times more likely to go to prison than a man is. because of the type of work they can get.
so when we put all the chips on the table, the issues of a black female in our community are just as bad as the males in our community and i think some of us have forgotten about that. i am my sisters keeper because my sisters have always had my back. and talking to natalie and jessica at the open society foundation, these are things they have been talking about with their policies, that their foundations have been addressing. so i thought it was a great thing for me as a man who's benefited from a lot of love from women to partner with them and we talked about how we can pull in the black church. that was one of the things that came up in the discussion how do we pull in the black church to help uplift our communities, how do we connect men and women back together. to raise their child together. these are things that you have to put in place to make them happen. >> and you know there's a huge difference between having a job versus a career a business, that you take more control over your life. >> right.
you know, the center of the foundation is the american idea and the hash tag that ron came up with, black moms matter, is a sign that the american ideal is still not realized. we will have always have problems in society, but we should never settle for any of the problems. when our inner cities are struggling as they are across the country, and we're dealing with issues like income enequality. wealthy people are incredibly wealthy and d.c. is an incredible example of that, yet the lack of job opportunity in the inner city proves that the american ideal has not been realized is so there has to be attention brought to these issues. it is unfortunate that that's attractive -- black moms matter that that draws a lot of attention. it should be obvious right? everybody's mom matters.
but the reality is that there really are issues and so at the kemp foundation, we certainly want to engage and learn about these issues because in the political world, it's very easy to get bogged down with the fights in congress but one of the things that we believe is that people don't care how much you know unless they know how much you care. so you first have to prove that you care and then people can start to say, oh, okay, well now let me hear what you have to say. and just to shift again back to kenise, thinking about programs there are certainly city programs here that are intended to help people, but there are also federal programs that have been conceived in the last 30 years and one helped kenise start her business, ideal visions. and an event company, and when she came one the idea she realized that off the salary
that she was making, were you working at a bar and another place? >> at a dental office. >> that's where you are now. but when you started -- >> i was working at the dental office, but my hours were cut back. so low to the point where i couldn't even pay my rent. >> yes. >> so you know, i did what i had to do. >> so you did odd jobs. >> right. waitressing, bar tending. >> doing what you needed to do. you weren't earning a lot of money. >> right. >> but because of the earned income tax credit she got a check from the federal government at the end of the year, and instead of spending that, she had been wise from the budgetary perspective and she was able to invest that in her business. we need job creation. it needs to be organic. government jobs, they're good, they're solid. they're important. but in this city, in every city, we need real organic job creation and people entrepreneurs who have ideas and know how to invest back in their community. so that's why i'm thrilled that we have been able to have an
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welcome back to "viewpoint." we want to dive back into what we were talking about kenise, you being an entrepreneur and reinvesting this tax money year after year to get your business off the ground. how difficult was that in terms of trying to carve out a career while managing child care by yourself? >> it's really difficult. the part-time jobs i was working, i used that to pay for child care. so i really wasn't -- i guess i
really wasn't eating off of that. i was just using it to pay for child care that way i can work to do what i need to do, you know, as far as inside the household. but -- >> you didn't have a lot of help from family, anything like that? >> no. my family is pretty much independent family. so everybody is doing their own thing, therefore i had to focus on mine and my child. you know? my biggest fear is losing my son, losing him to the streets. not only in death, but, you know, to his peers. i just -- my brother last night was just shot, so i'm looking at him and i'm a -- he's okay you know, i'm look at him and my son and all it takes is one wrong moment and my son can be there too. so i pretty much want to just better our life -- i want to better our life and our conditions and our environment
and we can go from that. >> we'll keep your brother in our prayers. how tough is that, you look at the fact that young women single moms, trying to carve out a career, but at the same time, trying to make sure their children are safe, are with someone they can trust, to take care of them, while they go back to school, while they try to advance their careers and start a business. >> it's sad. i mean, you just think about it. our young women and men are in in -- you know a critical situation a time in d.c. where we had a young lady shot in the shoulder last night in d.c. her brother shot in his face. over 28 people killed in ward 8 alone this year. a lot of great things happening in d.c., but we have to make sure that we have a pathway to success in public safety in our community. a lot of women are walking around in fear from domestic violence, to lack of
opportunity, to just thinking how they'll put food on the table. a lot of them have to compromise, you know, their principles and morals to survive. that's why our rate of women going to prison has risen so high. so we must deal with this marginalized population with the same efforts and intensity that we're dealing with in the black males in our community, because we know their plight. everybody knows the plight of black men because we have been talking about it for decades. so we need to deal with both. because if these women have been raising us, they say no nation is greater than its women. right? that's true. so i just believe that together we're working with people like this young lady right here, who have been coming out to these town hall meetings and follow-up discussions that we've had, not just rhetoric, but working with different foundations. working with muriel bowser and other governments, mr. baker, you know? and coming up with strategies and with community leaders. i think we can put policies in
place and we can get people motivated to do things themselves in our communities and rebuild the village that we once had. >> yeah, kenise, i'm sure you ran into the very real reality that child care is some of the most expensive in the country. >> right. we definitely need some support groups. you know maybe if we could have moms helping each other out because like now my son is practicing football monday through thursday and that's a lot, coming from work to take him to football practice and then once school starts we have to do homework and all of that. there has to be some type of support groups and motivational things going on with to help us out. and it's a struggle, it really is. >> maybe sort of like a co-op plan. >> right. >> a cooperative. we'll end it there for right now, but we'll come back and get some final thoughts from jimmy, kenise and ron on black moms matter. be right back. brv --
welcome back to "viewpoint." and jimmy, as you listened to kenise talk about some of the struggles of finding appropriate child care you and your wife raised four boys right now. so you know that's a struggle whether you have one parent or two. but even more acute when you have only one. any ideas in terms of how to give young women that space to go back to school, get a better job? >> well, look, i think it's really important to understand that government has limits. not only do we have limited government in the united states which is part of the founding documents, but government has limits. government can't love. one thing that ron said earlier i think it's really important to understand. hurt people hurt people whether you're rich, poor, white, black, whatever religion you are, if you have been hurt by folks, you are going to hurt people.
and each of us have our own hurts. we need to learn to deal with -- mental health is an important part of the discussion when trying to deal with poverty. i was asking kenise earlier where her strength came from. she said i've got it. i have always known that i wanted to make sure. i looked at my surroundings, that's not what i wanted. we've got to be -- we do a great job identifying athletes at young ages. we do a really good job of identifying smart children, academics. we don't do as good of a job identifying who's strong mentally, who has entrepreneurial capabilities. these are softer things, but i think in our education system we need more focus on mental health to help identify okay, this person really needs the mentorship of a ron moten or a kenise or somebody from the community. we need stronger civil relationships, government certainly needs to recognize what works. but the answer is not government. it's people.
it's the people who can love others. set a model, inspire and be a parent. that's, you know what all of us are trying to do. >> because i would think also, given that space to launch and run their own business, it gives you a little bit more control over your child care rather than when you're punching a clock and being required to start and end at a specific shift. >> right. here's the thing. and in these struggling communities we have so much -- women are braiding hair, making clothes, making makeup baby sitting kids but they don't know what's the next step. >> that's right. >> so there has to be something in play, some type of organization where they can take whatever they're doing at home and become an entrepreneur. because it's a lot of talent that we're unaware of. >> and that would be section 3 in public housing where me and
jimmy have some guys start their open landscaping companies and there are programs that people don't know about that you partner with businesses that will help train and move these people to the next step. but we had to do a better job of getting it out there to people, and pulling government and business and people in the community together to uplift people and that's where i leave that at. >> i think what i hear all of you saying, there needs to be a little space but there needs to be mechanisms to support these young women. >> right. right. >> totally agree. >> and it's got to be organic. it's got to come from the community. got to have people who care and you know, life is not easy. it will never be perfect. but we all have to do our part and recognize our calling. and the gifts we have been given. so i'm grateful to ron for doing that with you know, the things that he's come through. >> i'm grateful for ron, for kenise and for jimmy. i think you said it best when you said government can't love,
this is a storm team 4 weather alert. >> heat advisory for just about everyone in the metro area. >> yeah take a look at your screen right there. current temperatures already in the 70s. and amelia segal says get ready for a 90 degree weather streak. we're not just talking about a day, but a streak. good morning, i'm angie goff. >> i'm david culver. as soon as you walk outside you feel that wall of humidity hit you this morning. >> it hugs you actually. >> that's a nice way to put it. >> not a good hug though. we want to check in with amelia segal. she has more on this weather alert day and amelia, you're